Though academic research for identifying and considering the social impact of products is emerging, the actual use of these processes in industry is undeclared in the literature. The gap between academic research and the industry adoption of these theories and methodologies can have real consequences. This paper explores current practices in industry that design engineers use to consider the social impact of products during the customer use stage. 30 people from nineteen different companies were interviewed to discover what disconnects exist between academia and industry when considering a product’s social impact. Although social impact assessments (SIA) and social life cycle assessments (SLCA) are two of the most common evaluative processes discussed in the literature, not a single company interviewed used either of these processes despite affirming that they do consider social impact in product design. Predictive processes were discussed by the respondents that tended to be developed within the company and often related to government regulations.

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